HC Deb 27 June 1938 vol 337 cc1522-3
35. Brigadier-General Clifton Brown

asked the Minister of Agriculture what was the amount of wheat fed to stock or used on farms and the amount of wheat sold off farms in 1936 and 1937, respectively?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

Sales of wheat in the last two completed cereal years credited to growers in England and Wales under the Wheat Act, 1932, amounted to 1,558,000 tons in 1935–36, and 1,118,000 tons in 1936–37. Such sales represent the bulk of the wheat sold off farms in those years. I am not in a position to state the quantities of wheat fed to stock or used on farms in these years in the absence of information regarding the amount of wheat purchased by farmers for these purposes.

Brigadier-General Brown

In the case of his defence measures, has my right hon. Friend calculated the amount of wheat that is required on farms?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, we have made the best calculation we can.

Mr. T. Williams

Can the right hon. Gentleman state what is the proportion of the wheat consumed on the farms themselves which was regarded as of millable quality?

Mr. Morrison

No; I could not give the exact proportion without notice.

38. Major Macnamara

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether legislation to set up the standard price committee for wheat will he introduced before the Recess; and, if there is any delay, will he give an assurance that the decisions of this committee will operate retrospectively?

Mr. Morrison

As regards the first part of the question, I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply given on 14th June to my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Sir P. Hurd) and to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Tiverton (Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte). I regret that I am unable to give the assurance referred to in the second part of the question.

39. Major Macnamara

asked the Minister of Agriculture how much of the wheat used annually in Britain is produced at home?

Mr. Morrison

Over the five years 1933–37, it is estimated that home produce accounted for approximately 24 per cent. of the total wheat supplies available for consumption in the United Kingdom.

Major Macnamara

Is it the policy of the Government to increase the home production of wheat as much as possible?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir, and there has been an increase in the acreage under wheat since 1931 of over 50 per cent.

Captain Sir Derrick Gunston

What percentage of the increase in the consumption of wheat was grown since the Act has been in force?

Mr. Morrison

I should have to work that out, and if my hon. and gallant Friend will give me notice, I will do so.

Viscountess Astor

How much has it cost the country to get the extra production of wheat?

Mr. Morrison

That is another question.